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Authorities Warn That Predators Are Targeting Children On Fortnite — Here's How Parents Can Keep Kids Safe

Photo: Epic Games
Is Fortnite Safe For Kids? UK Authorities Warn Predators Targeting Children On Fortnite

UK authorities are warning parents that Fortnite is being used by pedophiles to "groom" children.

The National Crime Agency, the British version of the FBI, reports that the popular video game that allows users to communicate with gamers all over the world is being used as a platform for pedophiles to ask children to perform sex acts and speak about explicit topics with young kids. Although it is unknown how many children play the cartoon-style shooting game, it has accumulated some 3.4 million players worldwide so t's safe to conclude many of those are very young.

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Each game starts out with 100 players who are picked off until there is a lone victor. The game heavily relies on communication, as many users form alliances to stay alive longer, which can be particularly concerning for parents because their children are exposed to strangers.

Many people have reported that their children were offered money for sexual favors or that they overheard inappropriate conversations initiated by adult users. The NCA issued a warning about the dangers of Fortnite as it relates to kids.

Fortnite is immensely popular with children and teenagers across the country," the NCA said in a statement on Twitter. "It features voice and text chat which cannot be turned off, so it's important that parents and teachers understand that risks broader risks associated with the game and enable safe playing."

A mother from Liverpool was livid when she learned her son was being groomed by an online predator. According to Echo, she said that her 12-year-old son was asked for "naked pictures," offered  £50 to perform a sex act and was being asked "disgusting" questions by another user via Fortnite.

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“I felt sick to my stomach, it was absolutely disgusting," she told the outlet. “I ran in and told my son to tell him (the other gamer) he was 12 years old, and ask him does he not think that is disgusting, to be talking to a 12-year-old like that? And he said no — he didn’t care. That is when I just lost it. I lost my temper and then told my son to get off the game and phoned the police," adding that she had recorded part of the interaction.

Lorin LaFave's 14-year-old son was killed by an online pedophile.

"It couldn’t be easier for a predator," she said of online games.

Another mom explained that she heard an unidentified adult user asking her son, "Do you know what sex is?"

A teacher who opted to remain anonymous told The Sun that many of his 11-12-year-old students have had such encounters while playing Fortnite.

“We were talking about the game and they said it was ‘full of pedos,’" We talked about it and most said they had come across it. I don’t think parents are aware of the dangers.”

Many other concerned parents have reported similar cases and have called for action.

The NCA encouraged parents to play the game with their children and to monitor who their youngsters are chatting with.

"Play with them," the agency urged. "It may seem daunting, but one of the best things that you can do is to engage with the gaming environment and begin to understand what makes Fortnite so attractive to young people, as well as giving yourself an idea of the reporting tools available within the game."

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children detailed how parents can identify if their child is being "groomed" by a predator as well as how to prevent it.

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Sarah Gangraw is a travel-addicted cat lady who lives on black coffee and cheese. She has a degree in journalism and writes about all things news, entertainment and crime. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter — she's occasionally funny.